Countrywide Financial ( CFC) dropped 4% a day after Brandes Investment Partners revealed that it has taken a big stake in the struggling mortgage lender. The San Diego, Calif.-based value investor -- which advises on $125 billion in assets for individuals, pension funds, foundations and endowments -- has taken a 7.9% stake in Countrywide, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Brandes held 46 million shares of Countrywide as of Sept. 30, the filing says. At recent prices, the stake was valued at around $770 million. Also Monday, a former Countrywide vice president, Quan Zhu, 43, agreed to settle insider trading charges. The SEC filed the charges against Zhu in a Los Angeles federal district court on Monday. The SEC alleges that Zhu traded Countrywide stock in October 2004 "while aware of confidential negative earnings information" that was about to be released on the lender's third quarter that year. Zhu settled the charges, without admitting or denying the allegations. He agreed to pay a total of $108,840 in fines and disgorgement. The SEC previously filed insider trading charges against two other former Countrywide employees for involvement or trading on the same information. Both have settled their cases, the SEC says.